“If You Love your Kids, Don’t Bring Them Into Crowds”

Readers — This note came in response to the post zknneasazt
below this one
, which was about how we often leap from tragedy to blame, in order to give ourselves a sense of control. That leap is pretty basic superstition: “If I just do/don’t do X, my kids will be safe.” It’s like wearing a rabbit’s foot: Somehow, God or the Fates will take note of your diligence and spare your child. – L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: The quote below is a Facebook post from someone in my feed who was invited to speak on a local news segment tonight regarding the tragic events in Boston.  I thought it was a joke at first.  Nope.

“If you love your kids, don’t bring them into large crowds at high profile events. Yes, it stinks that you have to make these kind of choices, but the reality is that there are a lot of bad people out there. If you want to see the action, watch it on TV from the safety of your home. Thank you KEYE for helping me spread the word. Safety is not always convenient.”

Lenore here again: Ah, but inconvenience does not equal safety…something we keep forgetting.

Picture of Blue sky and white clouds - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com

Blame and seeming randomness do not go together.

99 Responses to “If You Love your Kids, Don’t Bring Them Into Crowds”

  1. TRS April 16, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    I personally hate crowds. However – I do love my kids and I will take them to a crowded event if it is something we really want to do. One of those things I love to do with my girls is run 5K races. Will put up with crowds to do it.

    Taking one of my daughters to a Taylor Swift concert in a month.

    We also live in the Washington DC area. I dare anyone to tell me I don’t love my kids.

  2. TRS April 16, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Most accidents and the most people die in their own bathrooms. I guess I should forbid my kids to use them.

  3. Linda April 16, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    I am happy to say that my own Facebook feed, here in Boston, is filled with people declaring that they *will* keep bringing their kids to events like this, that they will redouble their efforts to attend the marathon next year, that they will volunteer next year at one of the support stations, or that they will start training so that they can run in the marathon next year.

    Not everyone is cowering in fear.

  4. Kara Nutt April 16, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Are you kidding me?!?! This sounds like our first pediatrician, we found another more free range one. Our first one stated at his 6 month check up (SIX MONTH) to keep him out of crowds and not take him out in the sun. We responded with, “Well, he’s already been on a month long cross country trip, to Arizona, so I think that ship has sailed.”
    She retired shortly after that visit.
    We joked with each other that she was an agoraphobic vampire, afraid of sunshine and the outdoors.
    She would’ve had fits had she known that we rarely use sunscreen. However, non of us have ever had any problems with vitamin D deficiency either.

  5. Brian April 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Keeping your kids out of crowds is called letting the terrorists win. As someone who lived through 9-11 in NYC, the only way to defeat terrorism is to not give in to it. The best response of a free people is to celebrate our freedoms, to celebrate our lives. That means going to parks, games, school, etc. Israelis live under much greater threat and they show their patriotic resolve and strength by continuing to live their lives. Americans show their strength because the post-911 generation does not live in daily fear of terrorism.

    There were tens of thousands of people within those few blocks and 150 were injured. The odds are on your side, much better than the odds driving to school every day. Don’t let this terrorist win by making our children afraid.

  6. RobC April 16, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I guess I shouldn’t have taken my son to that Bruce Springsteen concert last month, then. Not when I’ve got all the live DVDs at home that we could have watched instead. I don’t know what I was thinking!

    Seriously, what absolutely moronic ‘advice’. If this person wants to hide under the bed for the rest of her life because one bad thing happened, that’s up to her, but my kids live in the world, and dammit, I’m not going to teach them to be afraid of it.

  7. Mike April 16, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    For God’s sake, do these people have any idea how many crowds we have in this country? We have thousands of professional sporting events that gather tens of thousands of people a year. Political rallies, marches, charity events — I would be surprised if we have less than 10,000 events that gather tens or hundreds of thousands of people. ONE gets bombed and suddenly we’re support to mess our pants every day?

    Give me a break.

  8. Katie April 16, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    “Crowd” is a pretty relative term! 10,000 runners and however many spectators is a crowd for a race through Boston, but (let’s say 35,000) people in Lincoln Financial Field isn’t even half full. 3,000 people can seem enormous in a small-town park!

  9. 21st Century Mummy April 16, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Ridiculous statement!

    You can’t live life like that. You can’t protect kids by keeping kids inside, or by not taking them to family events.

    Wrapping our kids up in cotton wool won’t do them any favours at all.

  10. Yan Seiner April 16, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    We were in the Bataan Memorial Death March last month. It’s a marathon of sorts. One of the options is to carry a 35 lb or heavier pack for the entire 26.2 miles. It’s held on an otherwise closed military installation.

    As we were penned up in the starting area for the starting ceremonies, I thought about exactly this. 5,280 people in an area not much bigger than a soccer field, many of us toting large packs and rucks. Load one up with 35 lbs of C4 and shrapnel, and the toll would be horrific.

    But the chance of this happening is so small that it’s not worth considering. Living in fear is not living. Living in fear is letting the terrorists win. They’ve already won in many ways – we have all sorts of intrusive laws, but if we now stay in our homes because it’s “safer” we have lost our freedom altogether.

    Dum vivimus, vivamus!

  11. BL April 16, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    “… there are a lot of bad people out there”

    Actually, there are very very few bad enough to bomb anything, let alone a foot race.

    Most bombing is done by governments anyway, not private criminals.

  12. Andrew April 16, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I think that people want the illusion of being safe. But it’s just that, an illusion. Keep you kids at home and allow them to miss the chance of having the experience of an event. However people have died the last three times an airplane crashed into houses. A man died safe in his bed because a sink hole opened up under him. But Andy you idiot, these are one-in-a-million events. Well, so are school shootings, and bombings at marathon finish lines. The point is, nothing in life is 100% safe.
    To quote (or mis-quote) a saying the vikings had, “The time,place and manner of my death was decided long before my birth. If I go out into the world,or hide under my bed, I won’t live a minute longer than I am destined to. So I might as well take in all the the world has to offer, and live my life to the fullest.” Talk about a free range people!
    Even if you don’t believe in fate, you have to admit that hiding at home won’t keep you safe. I’ll continue to go to crowded events and take my kids too.
    Oh, and I’ll wear my lucky rabbit’s foot. I believe in it more than hiding under my bed.

  13. Michelle April 16, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Oh no, better avoid high profile events, might be terrorist targets! Might want to avoid famous landmarks / high profile buildings (like the WTC), because terrorists like to attack those. Actually, better stay away from any government buildings at all (like the federal building in OKC). That includes schools. Also banks; banks are always getting robbed. And churches! Don’t want to get caught in a church bombing. And malls and subways; those have been attacked, too. You know, maybe stay out of cities altogether. Even suburbs and small towns. And small Amish communities, like the one where that guy attacked the one room school.

    If you really love your kids, you should hole up in a cabin in the woods, far away from all civilization. And hope your nearest neighbor isn’t the Unibomber, of course.

  14. Kim April 16, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Terrorism is the ultimate for of Bullying…No way in this world will I let the Bully win.

  15. Warren April 16, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    This comment is probably going to draw some heat, but what the heck.

    When it comes to families, I have seen a major shift in the power, over the years. Personally and from historical evidence.
    The female position within the family has seen major power/authority growth, while the male’s position has become less dominant. As I have seen within many families of friends and family the wife/mother has the final say, or in the event of a deadlock the final vote. Now I am not saying women have become power mad control freaks. I am just pointing out the family dynamics have changed over the years.
    Now taking that into consideration, this could be contributing to the hyper safety mentality we see happening. From birth through middle age men are more prone to just go out and do things with little or no regard to risk, or safety. Risk/reward thinking is absent, and for the majority of day to day living that is actually a good thing.
    Women on the other hand a wired in a more cautious mind. Combine the risk/reward thinking with women using emotions more in the decision making, and you have two completely different beasts. Men are most definitely from Mars, women from venus type thing.
    Let’s face it, we may have thought we were at the top of mature when we were in our twenties and thirties. The time when we were raising our little ankle biting rug rat mud dragging angels, but we were not. Everyone grows more mature with experience and time.
    When I look at it this way, I can see how we have arrived at the spot we are in. The family dynamic change has brought about a change in soceity. Going from just go on and do it, an adapt as you go, to weighing all the risks, taking all precautions possible, or not doing it at all.
    Now we add in, that once people start aging into their senior years, they become more cautious, and worrisome. North America’s population is rapidly aging. The baby boomers are all getting up there, into that point in their life where things they did all their lives without thought, now required thought.

    Put all of this together, shake well, and it may explain why soceity is the way it is.

    Please, this is not about any one person, it is just a general observation of our human condition. I am not saying anyone has done anything wrong, just that we have evolved in this direction.

  16. Warren April 16, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    As for the terrorism is bullying…………..please stop with the absolute overuse of the word bullying.

    Terrorism is not bullying. They are two completely different things.

    As for those responsible for terrorist acts, there is only one response. Find them and grind them under the heel of our boots. No mercy, no diplomacy, no redemption. That will prevent them from ever doing it again, and it sends the message that we will not hide, and that we will get you no matter what.
    And no that does not make us as bad as them. That makes us pissed off, and seeking revenge. I have no problem with that.

  17. Mike April 16, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Crowds can get fun. Many years ago, at a major theme park: Two friends and I (Brian, Gabe, Mike), so three guys, all maybe 18-20, standing in a crowd watching something. All of a sudden Brian reacts, telling the random woman standing next to him “Ma’am, your child just grabbed my hand.” (Kid was maybe 2.)

    Cue hilarity.

    Gabe: Hey Brian, why don’t you get a stuffed animal like everyone else!

    Mike: Yeah? How much for that one? (Pointing to the child)

    Mother: NOT for sale!

    We laughed a long time about it. Here I am, regaling the internet with the story decades later. And why? Because a mother knew that her child would not be harmed / abducted / etc-ed in a crowd at a theme park.

    Crowds are not dangerous. Rampant paranoia is.

  18. Russell Phillips April 16, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I much prefer this response:

    “The Good Outnumber You And We Always Will”

  19. Jennifer April 16, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    I guess that means that if you love your kids, you also should not take them to Disney World. Talk about crowds!

  20. Maresi April 16, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    No, lady, you misspoke. What you meant to say was “If you love your kids, you won’t be ruled by irrational fear of random and very rare tragedies. You’ll teach them to live life to the fullest. You’ll get out of the house and away from the tv and experience the authentic stuff of life, because the real chances are, nothing will happen except that you’ll have a terrific day together.”

  21. Andrew April 16, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    In response to Warren’s post. I agree that the power dynamics in this county have changed. Women aren’t as risk prone as men. However I’ve known many women who cringe when they hear about how they should never let their kids out of their sight. Ms. Skenazy is a prime example.
    A child being bullied at school is going to think of a bully as a terrorist, just as some people think of terrorist as freedom fighters. Yes we should go after the persons responsible for this with every thing we have. But we should temper that with the wisdom and common sense. Unfortunately after an event like this people go bat crap insane. The entire point of this thread is how people want to keep their kids away from public events. They want to be safe and are willing to allow the dumbest policies to be implemented. Which doesn’t solve the problem, it only adds to it.

  22. Becky April 16, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I just read this to my husband, and his response: “That guy’s a whack-job.” 🙂 I don’t necessarily condone calling people names, but I have to agree with him on this one.

  23. Puzzled April 16, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Unfortunately, this is the reality every day in much of the world. We are fortunate that we can have a media circus around this event, that it is not a daily occurrence. Also unfortunately, too many of those events in other countries are funded by me, and approved by my so-called representatives. I would hope that, when bad things happen, Americans could develop a feeling of empathy, and use them as the opportunity to demand that we not do similar things to others.

    One thing that really annoyed me was the doctor who made some comment about “we don’t expect this here, it’s like in Iraq or Israel or some other tragic place.” I doubt the people living there consider them “tragic places” but, more to the point, it is outrageous to maintain that disaster is natural and acceptable for some, but crazy when it happens to us.

  24. Warren April 16, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Yes tempered with wisdom. To me that means that we do not accept the taking of innocent lives, by our military, in pursuit of terrorists. On the other hand, those that take up weapons against our countries, our innocent population, neither deserve or understand mercy or diplomacy. Taking the high road has it’s time and place, but not when hunting down cowards hell bent on destroying cultures, countries and populations because their god or their prophet says to.
    Extremists are just that, extreme. They are beyond reason or redemption.

  25. Andrew April 16, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Warren, agreed.

  26. Maggie April 16, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Michelle, on April 16th, 2013 at 9:02 am Said:

    Oh no, better avoid high profile events, might be terrorist targets! Might want to avoid famous landmarks / high profile buildings (like the WTC), because terrorists like to attack those. Actually, better stay away from any government buildings at all (like the federal building in OKC). That includes schools. Also banks; banks are always getting robbed. And churches! Don’t want to get caught in a church bombing. And malls and subways; those have been attacked, too. You know, maybe stay out of cities altogether. Even suburbs and small towns. And small Amish communities, like the one where that guy attacked the one room school.

    If you really love your kids, you should hole up in a cabin in the woods, far away from all civilization. And hope your nearest neighbor isn’t the Unibomber, of course.


    THIS, exactly!

  27. pentamom April 16, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Because if you hide under your bed, nothing bad can ever happen to you and you’ll live forever.

    Or else, at least it won’t be “your fault.” As though it’s “your fault” if some maniac decides to bomb people out enjoying themselves in a crowd.

  28. BL April 16, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    “In response to Warren’s post. I agree that the power dynamics in this county have changed. Women aren’t as risk prone as men”

    But … wouldn’t stay-at-home-moms (the norm in the old days) have more influence, simply by being around the children way more than the fathers?

  29. zadig April 16, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Bruce Schneier, security expert who often offers the grownups-and-politics equivalent of your advice about children, has a great article about not being afraid of the extremely rare thing that happened yesterday.


    I recommend it… a voice to join Lenore’s and everyone else who will keep living their lives regardless of what some nutjob criminals want us to do.

  30. Christina April 16, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    @Brian – That was my reaction after 9-11 as well. No way am I letting some cowardly douche-canoe keep me and my family from going about our business and doing the things we enjoy. And my Boston friends (w/ and w/o kids) are reacting pretty much the same way.

  31. Christina April 16, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    @Warren – even if what you say about power dynamics within families is true, correlation =/= causation. Women, on the whole, may be more “wired” (or experience more social pressure) to be cautious, but that does not mean that women left to their own devices are going to baby-proof the world out of an over-abundance of caution. There are a lot of factors that influence the current ridiculous over-parenting that goes on in the US (and certain other first world countries), but I doubt it’s due to the (arguable) primacy of women.

  32. Practical Suburban Mom April 16, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    This is sad. And also completely impractical. Will this person also never take their children to an airport? Will they not ride in cars?

    Where does it end?

    My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of the Boston tragedy.

  33. HLZ April 16, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    How about, “If you love your kids, don’t have any.” That way they’ll REALLY be safe! I can’t think of a better way to protect then from all harm than to never create that little life to begin with. Of course, an about a hundred years the entire human race will be extinct, but hey, at least the children will be safe.

  34. Donna April 16, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Why is it always the children? “If you love your children….” If it is really the height of love to keep people out of crowds, why not “if you love your husband” or mother or yourself.

    I’ve never understood this idea that the death of some people is more tragic than others based solely on their age or profession and not just because it is simply tragic to die in a terrorist attack or mass shooting.

  35. Nadine April 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Sunday i let my kid dance on stage while thousands of people were looking, dancing and singing along. It was scary!! Cause he didnt know all the steps and just ended up there. But he was so proud he did it.

    Ofcourse we could have stayed home and watch glee! Thats about the same thing

  36. LRH April 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Donna Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. What you said (death of children being more tragic than death of adults) I have said for YEARS–I said it before I had children, and when people said “wait til you have kids, you’ll change your mind”–nope, I STILL feel that way.

    I absolutely agree with you 100%, the most of anything you have ever said in this site, ever.

    The typical rebuttal is “they were innocent, they didn’t chose to be there” or “they haven’t lived a full life, someone 80 has lived a full life.”

    Who is to say? I think that when we rank the level of tragedy of a death based on age, how long they had lived and how much life they have to remain–by elevating some as being MORE important, by necessity you are demoting others as being LESS important, and in doing so I think you are doing nothing less than playing God.

    First off–“innocent.” Does any sane person think the grown-ups went there thinking “hmm, large event, wait, there’s a risk of death, oh what the heck, I’ll go anyway, if I die it’s my body–oh wait, I’m taking my kid, no that’s not right, what if he wouldn’t chose likewise”–get real. I like to think that when we go do what we do, so long as that activity isn’t something HORRIBLE dangerous (dancing with the crocodiles like we’re the late Steve Irwin, let’s say), we do so in the pursuit of a fun life, and do so not thinking that we could die from it and would that be such a wise thing to do. Thus, I submit EVERY person who went there was innocent, whether 8 or 80 years old.

    Second, “they hadn’t lived a full life yet.” Last time I checked, people die of natural causes at a wide range of ages. Children die from leukemia before they’re 18. Basketball great Pete Marovich dropped dead of a heart attack at age 40 during a pickup basketball game–surely he didn’t think that would kill him, imagine what kind of great shape he must have been in. By contrast, former UCLA coaching great John Wooden died just shy of 100 years of age, and from what I read his body was frail but his mind was still sharp at that stage of his life.

    To me, any death due to a car accident, bombing, natural disaster, disease etc is tragic–whether the human was 8 or 80 years old.

    Right on, Donna, thank you for being brave enough (as “brave” as one can get posting online pretty much anonymously anyway, hey I like doing that too) can get anyway.


  37. Beth April 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Apparently I don’t love my children. At all.

  38. Tsu Dho Nimh April 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Because if you hide under your bed, nothing bad can ever happen to you and you’ll live forever. I hid under a bed at a neighbor’s, because their children – my playmates – told me a bear was in the house … then they all piled on the bed and were jumping and growling.

    Bed collapsed and I got carried home with a mild concussion and a bleeding scalp wound. I refuse to hide under beds any more. I’m gonna face the bears.

  39. Maggie April 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    If you love your kids, don’t let them ride in cars. It sucks that you have to make that choice, but motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 2-14 years old. It’s inconvenient, ut you want them to be safe, right? 😉

  40. Maggie April 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Seriously, though, this weekend my daughter ran in a race, not the Boston Marathon, but a 5K to benefit a scholarship fund in memory of a local girl who died of cancer at the age of 4. She hadn’t had a chance to “live a full life” either, but unlike bombings, it’s hard to say a parent could’ve prevented their child getting cancer by keeping them in the house.

  41. Emily April 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    …and avoid the excitement that can come in such events that are safe 99.9999% of the time?

  42. Caleb April 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Often, dealing with small children at our Childcare, I will see a small child in a glum mood notice another child being happy, and it bugs them that another is happy. Maybe it reminds them that they are hurt, and they don’t know what to do about their hurt, so their childish response is to stop the happy child from reminding them. They go snatch away the toy the other child is happy with. (Maybe they think the happiness is associated with the toy, and is something that is not internal.)

    This behavior is very childish, but very human. It is unfortunate when adults act the same way, but they do, and the most horrific case is in the case of a terrorist. They are like a angry three year old with a machine gun.

    I’m uncertain of how to deal with such adults, but I do know that with children the answer is not to respond to childish actions with a childish actions. Nor can you ask a mean child, “Why?” (The answers are usually amazingly evasive.) The answer to hate is love. Hate is the darkness, and love is the candle.

    The bombing gave me quite a fright. I live sixty miles away, and had three loved ones at the marathon. Without cell phone service, I knew a time of dread. Thank God all are well, but it reminded me to treasure life, family, friends, and freedom.

    I was afraid, but we cannot let fear rule us. That is what the cruel people desire. They want the light we have, but have minds twisted into hating the sight of the light, because it reminds them of their own darkness. If we allow terror to make us shadows, they win. If we shine all the brighter, darkness loses.

    I wrote my feelings down at:

  43. KatrinfromFrankfurt April 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Hmm this means never taking the subway anymore, no shopping tours on weekends, no more zoo visits, no more christmas markets, and no more watching daddy running the marathon in Cologne as we did last year – how could I be so selfish…

  44. Andrew April 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Of course they did. Women have always had that power. The difference (in my opinion), is that there is a noticeable decline in male role models. Without that male influence, society is more prone to be risk averse.
    Just to make clear, I don’t want to sound like I’m making male vs. female statements here. I’m just sharing my observations. There are exceptions to the rule. I know many bold women and many timid men. It just seems like American society has become so obsessed with being safe that we’ve forgotten how it feels to be alive. It wouldn’t be so bad except those who don’t want their kids to have great life experiences, don’t want anyone else s kids to have them either.

  45. K Watson April 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Remember when people were saying they didn’t want to have kids because it wasn’t fair to bring them into such a horrible world?

    Yeah, I see all these people a generation younger than me anyway.

    Life goes on. Keep calm and carry on.

  46. Andrew April 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Great point.

  47. Nicole April 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    We live less than an hour from Boston, and I have no intention of giving up “our” city.

    Will I take my child in this school vacation week? – No. – I don’t want him upset by the heighted security, and I want the professionals to be investigating the case, not worrying about protecting me on the train.

    But will we go this summer, just like usual? – Yes. – If we hide under rocks, they win by default.

  48. Actually Mummy... April 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Oops! I just took my kids on a holiday to Disney World Florida. I’m such a terrible parent – shame on me!

  49. Katie April 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    What a stupid response, but the main stream media is full of stupid idiots who pander to the least bright in society. No one is to blame other than the bomber.

    I’m happy to report though unlike what I thought would happen where I live people seem to not be in a state of panic. The subway was as full as ever today. I’m proud to say I was on it.

    These events are tragic, but also so rare. We need to remember this. I’d rather see resources going to stop people particularly the helicopter parents in their SUVs from blowing through crosswalks than watch fake security theaters enacted.

  50. Mamas Hands April 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    This makes me sad. I am a foster mom and so I see tragedy,,,heart breaking tragedy…children sitting in police stations waiting for a stranger-mom to pick them up because their mother is in jail tragedy…every day. Yes, Boston was AWFUL. But bad stuff happens everywhere. Just like good stuff. Why do we only notice the bad things when it is thrown in our faces by the media? Why don’t these people who are SO CONCERNED notice the little tragedies all around us that they could actually do something about?! I wrote more about this on my blog today: http://wegotourhandsfull.blogspot.com/2013/04/it-happens-everywhere.html

  51. Katie April 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    @Maggie Exactly, there are so many kids who die or get injured each year in cars. I see it all the time parent driving oversized SUV or Minivan speed, texting, switching lanes because the activities they take their kids to are all so important as is whatever they are gossiping about while texting/talking on the cellphone. Not to mention as mentioned in the post yesterday now the helicopter mom’s want to watch a video of their kid instead of the road.

    Anyway we’ll take our chances on a crowded subway train over what I see out their on the roads.

  52. Katie April 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    @Donna, yes I agree. The media has capitalized on the death of the 8 year old for all they can. While there is limited information about the other victims they have made sure to emphasize over and over the eight year old who died. This seems all about playing to the helicopter parents. I really hate the media’s role in all of this from reporting false info (NY post reported 10+ dead when that wasn’t true at all, as well as other information that was wrong), to trying to create fear, and so much more.

  53. AW13 April 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    @Mamas Hands: “But bad stuff happens everywhere. Just like good stuff. Why do we only notice the bad things when it is thrown in our faces by the media?”

    Because the media plays the same sensationalist crap on a constant loop, and everyone ends up overreacting to situations that, usually, have nothing to do with them. Was yesterday sad? Sure. I’m a runner – does it affect my life? Nope. I wasn’t there. (And most likely would never have made it to the Boston Marathon anyway, but that’s a different story having nothing to do with bombs and everything to do with my motivation to practice for and complete any marathon.) I have friends who live in Boston who are safe. Does it affect their lives? Yup, a heck of a lot more than it does mine, but they don’t seem frightened by it. They seem to be living their lives.

    Is it time for the media to back off until there is actually something new to report? Definitely. Will that happen? Not a chance. (Cue the availability cascade.)

  54. Katie April 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    @Brian on the note of Israel, though I find it odd that when a bombing happens here everyone wants outright war and revenge, but when it happens in Israel, Israel is condoned by some for wanting to defend itself. Very hypocritical.

  55. mollie April 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Caleb, really enjoying your radical compassion. I’m with you, bro.

  56. Carol April 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Unfortunately my Facebook feed had a few doozies as well, of people jumping to conclusions and swearing off do this, that or the other just because they think it will keep them safe. For example, a friend of my had just posted how excited she was to do the color run that was coming to her town, then yesterday posted how she has decided that she will no longer participate in the fun for her family’s safety. Oh, puh-leeze.

  57. Beth April 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    “the helicopter parents in their SUVs”
    “driving oversized SUV or Minivan speed, texting, switching lanes”

    Off topic, but could we PLEASE stop stereotyping anyone who doesn’t drive a small to mid-sized sedan? I’m seeing it more and more on this site, and it’s just wrong. (Full disclosure, I don’t have an SUV but I do have a minivan, bought it when I was doing home daycare and kept it for 13 years).

    I choose to believe that people buy vehicles that meet their families needs. Maybe their family has more than two children and a larger vehicle is needed. Maybe their recreational interests involve carrying equipment and they need a bigger vehicle. Maybe they go on driving vacations and need something that will carry the entire family plus luggage and other items for a long trip.

    And only SUV or minivan drivers speed, text, or change lanes? It is to laugh.

  58. Mamas hands April 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Maybe these people go so out of their way to shelter themselves from all violence and pain that they truly only notice hugely public events like this. they have made sure that other “ugly” things …foster kids, hungry people, bad neighborhoods…don’t cross their line of vision.

    If you want to panic about something, panic about all the bad in your neighborhood…and then do something about it. How self centered can one be??

  59. Katie April 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    @Beth Well these are simply by observations. I’m not saying those behaviors are only by SUV and Minivan drivers, but I definitely see them more often by Minivan and SUV drivers. Perhaps it is the illusion of safety. I’m not going to lie and say non truths are truths to make others feels better. Most the people I know who driver SUVs or Minivans including the giant ones have 1-2 kids occasionally 3. Some of them occasionally don’t even have kids. I know one person only who has 4 and I get it in her case why she would drive a Minivan. It’s environmentally irresponsible and irresponsible for the safety of others. It’s a real problem and instead of devoting resources to rare acts of terrorism it is time to devote resources to help protect the environment and to make roads safer and more walkable.

  60. Beth April 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    So if I have 5 kids and a minivan/SUV is “environmentally irresponsible” and “irresponsible for the safety of others”, how are we supposed to go anywhere as a family*? Drive two cars? Hmmm, that’s not too environmentally responsible either. And it’s my driving that affects the safety of others, not the kind of car I have.

    *And no, I’m not talking about endless trips to after school activities.

  61. Donald April 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    “If you love your kids, don’t bring them into crowds”

    Whenever I hear stuff like that I want to answer back, If you love your kids, don’t infect them with your fear hysteria”. If you had hepatitis, you wouldn’t want to infect a family member with the disease. Anxiety can be much more crippling.

    Many people think that they are great parents at protecting children by infecting them with anxiety and forbidding them from developing confidence and self esteem.

  62. Jackie April 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    We have to keep on with our lives, not live in a state of constant “what if”. I remember that about 5 months after 9/11 I had a trip to London planned. Can’t tell you how many of my friends questioned my decision to fly and asked if I was afraid. Why would I have been afraid? The chances of the plane crashing due to mechanical problems was probably FAR greater than it being hijacked. And after all, that time was probably the SAFEST to fly anyway. I didn’t understand why they thought I should forego something I’d wanted to do all my life just because some crazy people hijacked some planes. Can’t live that way.

  63. Donald April 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    “The media has capitalized on the death of the 8 year old for all they can. While there is limited information about the other victims they have made sure to emphasize over and over the eight year old who died. ”

    I don’t know if I hate this or love it. I hate the way the media cashes out on other people’s tragedies but I love to see them shoot themselves in the foot! More and more people are seeing them as transparent as a sandwich bag.

    When our numbers increase to a significant percentage, they won’t be able to use this cheap ratings grab anymore.

  64. Donald April 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Just to add

    I pin the blame on the population’s appetite for dirt. The media isn’t blameless for sure. However they wouldn’t supply if the demand wasn’t there

    The bombing happened. However many people will crave to hear the story hundreds of times! They must get their fix like a junky.

  65. Stephanie April 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    I think I’ll keep letting my kids go to the scary, scary events. Watching stuff on TV just doesn’t compare to the real thing.

  66. Rebecca M April 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I’ll say it again to those” panic” people: if you love your children don’t put them in a CAR. LEADING cause of accidental death for children aged 2-14…..
    Oh yeah, and I’m sure those “panic” moms NEVER talk on their cell phones or text when driving…

  67. Walt April 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I can’t believe no one has pointed it out yet – what will happen if NO ONE ever goes where there is a crowd? Then there will be no crowds and we’ll be able to go anywhere – for a while.

    Was the quote from W. C. Fields? No one goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.

  68. Donald April 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Car accidents take thousands more lives from children than terrorists, and kidnappers.
    You can’t live your life in fear.
    It isn’t possible to make the world 100% safe
    World proof your child. Don’t try to childproof the world.

    All these arguments are logical. However, that’s the problem. When people are in the grips of fear, the reptilian brain takes over and the part of the brain that is rational starts shutting down. The more the fear, the more the neocortex becomes paralyzed.

    Don’t take my word for it

    My site explains it in more detail

  69. Let_Her_Eat_Dirt April 16, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    When I heard about the horrible bombing, my second reaction (after the sorrow and horror) was to lament that people would use this incident to justify ever-increasing security and paranoia. Don’t bring kids to crowds? Are you kidding? So kids aren’t supposed to…
    – go to a baseball game?
    – attend the state fair?
    – watch a presidential inauguration?
    – enjoy the 4th of July fireworks?
    – see a Thanksgiving parade?

    My girls have enjoyed all those wonderful American traditions and more, and I have no interest in “protecting” them from such fun.

    Let Her Eat Dirt
    One dad’s take on raising tough, adventurous girls

  70. Warren April 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm #


    Katie will really hate this. Because whenever I feel like it, I pull my 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible out of the garage and just drive for the sake of driving. It gets around 6 miles to the gallon, has no seatbelts, and no pollution control measures on it what so ever.
    Why do I do it? Because I can. I worked hard for the money, put blood, sweat and tears into the restoration, and just absolutely love my GTO. And when I am driving around, I do not give one thought to my carbon footprint.

    So label me enviromentally irresponsible, and I will apologize to my kids for the damage I am doing to their planet.

  71. ifsogirl April 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    I really dislike how the fear of the world being packed full of the bad guys. I feel like I’m constantly bombarded with the message that bad guys are everywhere. Around every corner, lurking behind every bush, tree, rock or wherever else bad guys are supposed to hide.

    I read a post by Patton Oswalt, he’s a comedian and most people know him from King of Queens. He writes about the good people who ran towards the bombing site. The every day people that ran to help without a second thought. This happens at every tragic event BTW. He writes about the fact that the percentage of people doing such harm is small compared to those who are good.

    If you have time I suggest reading the whole thing on his Facebook page. Better by far than what I’ve read here today.

  72. pentamom April 16, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    My guess is you just notice what SUV and minivan drivers are doing because you can see them better by virtue of the shape of their vehicles and their relative height. There’s nothing scientific or even accurate about the observation that SUV and minivan drivers text and talk more than other people. I doubt most teenagers, who have the highest rate of distracted driving, drive those vehicles.

    People who have 2-3 kids and carpool regularly certainly have need for a minivan, SUV, or crossover, if there’s any sense in which it’s anyone’s business what car somebody else needs in the first place.

  73. Donna April 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    @Warren –

    Do you blare music too? When I was younger and had a convertible, albeit not a ’67 GTO, I used to love to go out to the country late at night and drive, singing along to music turned up as loud as I could stand it. Amazing sense of freedom.

    That said, I view that very different from the car culture that results in people driving large SUVs, often alone, 3 blocks several times a day. But then I think they are ridiculous even if driving a Prius, just not quite as ridiculous.

  74. Earth.W April 16, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I personally keep my children locked in a cage at all times for their own personal security. One has to keep their children SAFE.

  75. Emily April 16, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    >>“If you love your kids, don’t bring them into large crowds at high profile events. Yes, it stinks that you have to make these kind of choices, but the reality is that there are a lot of bad people out there. If you want to see the action, watch it on TV from the safety of your home. Thank you KEYE for helping me spread the word. Safety is not always convenient.”<<

    Safety. Inside. TV. That's what jumps out at me the most here. People watch stories of horrible tragedies like this one on TV, or see them on the Internet, because that's what gets the ratings. "Boston Marathon Happened, Good Time Had By All" isn't front-page news, although that's what happened countless times before yesterday, along with "Millions of Kids Walked To School Alone, And Didn't Get Abducted," and "Girl Scouts Cook S'Mores Over Fire, And Don't Burst Into Flames Or Get Type 2 Diabetes." So, the news that people see is skewed towards tragedies, which makes them mistakenly believe that the world is a dangerous place, which influences them to "watch life on TV from the safety of their homes" even more, instead of going out and experiencing it first-hand. It's a horrible, vicious cycle that probably has a lot to do with the obesity crisis, and the sense of "community" that's dying everywhere.

  76. bmj2k April 17, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    “Safety is not always convenient.” Nor rational, it seems.

  77. Lola April 17, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    Excuse me, but the same day those bombs went off, there were many more children dead and injured in an earthquake in Iran.
    So if you love your kids and happen to live in Iran, move out right away? Because if they die in an earthquake it’ll be your fault for not moving??

  78. Lola April 17, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Also, if you teach your kids to stay away from “people” in general, lest they be “bad”, it’ll be like teaching them that their own skins are what matters, and never mind being useful and helpful to those who surround them. What a s***ty lesson. In my book, that would make them tomorrow’s “bad people”.

  79. hineata April 17, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    @Earth W. – I hope that cage is padded. You can never be too safe, after all 🙂

  80. John April 17, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    This person might as well be saying, “If you truly love your kids, never let them go outside”. Sheesh, you can’t predict a rare event!

  81. gap.runner April 17, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    If you really want your kids to avoid crowds, don’t fly into the US from overseas or have them go through the security checkpoints at a US airport on your way back to a foreign country. The lines for passport control, security, and customs are “breathing room only.” I realize that those aren’t big public events. But I was still bringing my son into these crowds. I also took him to Disneyland and let him go to baseball games in the States.

    I can’t believe that people think that the majority of people are inherently bad. Again, I am a Horribly Bad Parent because I have taught my son that most people are good and willing to help a kid in need. I hate to think that today’s kids in the States are growing up thinking that the world and the people in it are bad. A paranoid generation is being brought up in the States.

  82. Jeff April 17, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Reread this, and my first response is still my response:

    Bull-patties (but the non bowlderized word)

  83. Andrew April 17, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    If you really loved your grand kids, you would donate your 1967 Pontiac G.T.O to the Andrew-really-likes-classic-cars charitable foundation. Your tax deductible donation will allow me to look really cool cruising around on Saturday nights.

  84. Andrew April 17, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Sorry I meant kids. Not grand kids.

  85. lollipoplover April 17, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Hermit Parenting.
    Because being the safest parent involves staying indoors at all times. And it breeds unibombers.

    I tell my children not to worry about things they cannot control. Random violence is just that- unpredictable and out of control. Yes, we have security. We also have car seats but that doesn’t stop kids from being killed in car crashes every single day. Accidents happen and there is nothing we can do to change the outcome, even staying home and watching it on TV. Stop the sanctimommy “I would never take my children to a crowded (insert any event possible)” and have respect for victims and their life choices.

    My kids will run today with their school running club. They’re(100 kids) training for a race in May. Mine will run with Dad this weekend in a fundraiser for organ donation (they lost their cousin in a car accident 4 years ago and run for her each year). Tons of people (including kids) participate in these outdoor races all over the world. Many ran in Boston for causes and community. Some kids enjoy running-mine do. If my son wants to work towards his PR (Personal Record) running a 5K vs. highest score in Call of Duty 4, I will let him. I will not say no and plop him on the couch in front of a screen. THAT would be child abuse.

    When something tragic happens, we take stock of what’s important to us (and for some it’s running) and do as much of it as possible. Not retreat and hide in fear. What a waste of time on bad TV when no one here get’s out alive. That’s like watching a burning log on TV instead of in your fireplace.

  86. CrazyCatLady April 17, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    I was really hoping that THIS time we wouldn’t hear this “Blame the Parent”. Seeing a parent who has trained hard finish this race or any other is a worthwhile thing. It sets a good role model for the kids – lets them know that they can achieve things they want if they work hard.

    My father ran this race 8 times. I wish that I had been able to see him running in it.

  87. BMS April 17, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Tuesday morning I got up, got on the train to Boston like I do every day and went to work. Result: A day at work. And actually, so many people stayed home that the blasted train ran on time for once. I work about a mile or so from the site, and I am seeing nothing unusual. Not sure why someone who is 100 miles away should even be concerned.

  88. Warren April 17, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    The music only gets cranked when I am on the 401, our major highway. Soon as I get on an off ramp, it gets turned down. I am one of those that hates listening to the loud bass beats coming from other people’s cars. It still amazes me that the old am/fm radio only gets better reception than in any of my modern vehicles.
    The freedom is great, the looks are great, but I just love going out and driving for the sake of driving. I love coming up to the lights beside some kid in his done up honda, or other rice rocket, and gunning the motor. Their heads snap up so fast it is a wonder they do not get whiplash, lol.

    My point about what car you drive, was that you should not be judged. It is your money, or debt, you worked for it, and if that is the vehicle you want, then get it and enjoy it. I have a customer that has six different vehicles that he drives all year round. He has come under fire by the younger generation about his carbon foot print, of the six vehicles. This man is a self made multimillionaire. Him and I both agree that the enviromentalists just do not see the logic. Doesn’t matter if you own 2 or 40 vehicles, because you can only drive one at any time.

    For some reason, not in a charitable mood, when it comes to the car. And when I am dead and gone, my youngest has already stated that if it is left to all my family, that she will sell a kidney to buy their shares. lol She watches the Barret Jackson auction with me. According to her, the only car she wants more than mine, is a 63 Corvette, yes split window lol.

  89. baby-paramedic April 17, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    In Australia we had a murder of a young woman working home one night, a relatively short distance. Very high profile case. And so many people declared they would no longer walk home after that occurred.
    Yet there were others of us who declared we would continue walking home in our own suburb/town that had been relatively safe before that, and would continue to be relatively safe.
    Some people looked at us like we had grown an extra head… But, I will not change my habits due to the evil of a few. My activities being curtailed by the evil few, means evil has won.

  90. baby-paramedic April 17, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    And as I told the short ones…
    Look for the helpers. In the footage that appeared on our news, that so many would find confronting… There were people running towards the injured, people helping.
    Look for the helpers… There are always helpers to help when bad things happen.

  91. Dave April 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Let me say I love crowds. Large events are fun and they take place all of the time without trouble. Boston was a terrible tragedy but it was not the norm. Our history has be riddled with many tragic events. The are not new nor are the common. This event needs to come off the news until there is news. When the find the person, people who did this they should make it public. They should not keep running it before us instilling fear over something that will not happen to most who are now in panic of the idea that it could happen anywhere and probably will.

  92. Emily April 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    About the “crowds” issue, I’ve actually thought about how I’d approach that with my hypothetical, future kid(s) when the time comes. I suffer from panic attacks that are often triggered by loud noises, confined spaces, bright flashing lights (and sometimes bright colours), the sensation of being shaken around, and especially crowds. However, I never thought of how to keep my hypothetical, future kid(s) out of crowded events, but rather, how to allow them to experience them without compromising my health. So, if they wanted to go to professional sporting events, or Chuck E. Cheese, or a Disney park, then I’d probably arrange for them to go with someone else. My reasons for avoiding crowds aren’t because I’m afraid of being bombed off the face of the earth, but because of my own issues. I hope that, in allowing my hypothetical, future kids to experience things that I might not be able to, I’d teach them not to let their issues affect other people.

  93. Merrick April 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    We can choose to live our lives, raise our children and make our choices by two things:

    “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” see- 1 Corinthians 13

    Love is not about being afraid. It’s not about protecting from life or death. It’s about sharing your life and your heart. You can’t do that if fear locks you in your closet.

    My son recently lost his dear friend, only 19 years old, in a car accident. It was a great blow… but knowing that this kid lived a life full of love, of sharing his joy with people, of showing a heart of service for total strangers (he once gave his shoes to a homeless man on the street, because “I have more shoes.”) … Was it tragic? Do I mourn the man I’ll never get to watch him become? Absolutely… but he didn’t live a life of fear, and I am so thankful for that.

  94. pentamom April 18, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Even the rhetoric on this one gets me: “IF you love your kids….” Not simply, “You shouldn’t bring your kids into crowds…” (bad as that advice is in itself.) It’s like one of those stupid Facebook memes — “if” you care about this or that, you will share. the implication being, if you don’t share, or take this advice, you don’t care, and YOU DON’T LOVE YOUR KIDS. I’m the kind that hates being manipulated so much that I will sometimes even refuse advice or suggestions that I might otherwise listen to if I feel I’m being manipulated (childish and irrational, I know.) So this kind of thing really drives me up the wall.

  95. Liam April 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    You know what gets me, can you imagine giving this “advice” to Bill and Denise Richard? Because that’s basically what this person is saying. They’re blaming these parents for the death of their son and injury of their daughter. And saying that they don’t love their kids. I wish people would think before they speak.

  96. JJ April 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    Oh pentamom about that Facebook thing I hate it too. Some cheesy, corny trite photo or card and IF I love my kids or Mom or sister I need to share it. Fortunately I have the kind of kids, Mom, and sister who would probably unfriend me if I did post it!

  97. Buffy April 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    And then there’s the FB memes that say something like “Hit Like and Share if you hate racism. I know 97% of you won’t have the guts but my true friends will.”

    I always want to comment “Unfriend me then, because I’m not liking and sharing anything.”

    But back on topic, the wording of IF you love your kids bothered me too. Very, very few people don’t love their kids and the assumption that certain activities or decisions prove that you don’t is just so judgemental.

  98. Lisa April 21, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    @Liam, you said exactly what I was thinking! People who write things like this don’t think. I choose to believe if they did, they would refrain from saying anything that passes judgement on a family already grieving.

    It’s hard to process events like this, and I think everyone is handling it differently. I made my daughter stay home and inside on Friday, despite being a FRP most of the time… I just couldn’t handle being at work and worrying about where she was. We are not ignoring what happened (she is 10… if she were younger, she might not know anything about it) – we’ve talked about it, and she respectfully observed a moment of silence before her soccer game yesterday with both teams. We are trying to keep a realistic view of how it *actually* affects our lives, though, which is (thankfully) very little now that the suspect is in custody. Staying out of Boston this week, for those who didn’t need to be there, seems like a reasonable reaction. Staying out of Boston permanently, or staying out of all crowds everywhere regardless of how far from the event? I can’t understand why that would show that I love my kid. (Note: *not* going to crowded events doesn’t mean parents don’t love their kids either – it might just mean that the parents don’t enjoy such thio ngs). Nothing that happened this week will change my 4th of July plans, just as I did not stop flying after 9/11.

    I note that many people felt that public celebration in the streets was appropriate on Friday, and that the Red Sox donated 200 tickets to Saturday’s game for a State Senator to distribute to constituents in the affected area. So not everyone seems to think that avoiding crowds is necessary!


  1. Free Range Kids » Don’t Let a Tragedy Make Us Stupid - April 17, 2013

    […] think of the advice tendered yesterday by some know-it-all on Facebook:  “If you love your kids, don’t bring them into crowds.”  That was a quick, stupid fix, as if crowds are inherently unsafe. (As someone commented, […]